Treating Hand Rips: How to Address (and Prevent) Skin Tears
Your grip might be the last thing you think about, but it experiences some of the worst wear and tear. Training hard can do damage to your hands, especially when you’re hitting the gym multiple times a week. Think about it: You need your hands for almost everything you do. Whether you get blisters, rips, or tears, they can be painful and pull you away from your programming. That’s why it’s important to keep your grip fresh and strong as much as possible.
There are certain things you can do to prevent rips from happening in the first place. And knowing how to handle them in the case that they do arise is also vital. So, let’s explore the best ways to prevent skin tears from happening, as well as some tips for taking care of a fresh wound.
How to Prevent Skin Tears
Diligent care and proper preparation will help you significantly cut down on the wear and tear (and injuries) to your grip. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Maintain Tough Skin with a Callus Shaver
Over time, the skin on your hands is going to get tough. This is a good thing because it provides extra protection. However, if this toughened skin gets too thick, it can backfire and cause even more rips. So, you want to maintain it.
An effective way to prevent skin tears is to file or shave down existing calluses. You can do this with a callus shaver or blade! Use it to gently remove the first couple of layers of skin and also keep it smooth.
When you’re doing this, don’t take off too much skin. You don’t want to shave it all the way down to baby skin, which is going to be more prone to tears. Rather, leave some of the tough skin on to maintain that protective barrier. (Plus, shaving down too much means you’re likelier to catch live skin — ouch!)
2. Tape Your Fingers
Using quality thumb or finger tape not only ensures a better grip, but also provides you with extra protection from rips, tears, and blisters during training. Tape acts as an additional protective layer between you and the bar, reducing the likelihood of tears. It also offers extra padding for those days when the skin of your hands is simply sore. This is going to be your best ally for the hook grip, in particular.
Tape is also a smart idea if you still sustain a skin injury. After you’ve given it some time to heal, you can use tape to keep your hands safe once you get back to training. Return to the gym faster and also reduce the chances of aggravating your injuries.
Psst! Read our blog on how to tape your hands for lifting.
3. Chalk Up
Gym chalk is made of magnesium carbonate, which absorbs the moisture from your palms and fingers to dry them out. Using chalk can help give you a better grip when you’re training. It gives you a little extra purchase by helping your hands stick to the bar more, as opposed to sliding right off due to sweat. This means you don’t have to grip the equipment as tight, which can help prevent tears.
However, it’s important that you don’t use too much chalk — a mistake that athletes commonly make. Because it increases the friction between you and the bar, too much of it can lead to even more rips. A light dusting is more than enough.
How to Treat Hand Rips
It may sound painful (and for some, it will be) but treating hand rips properly is important if you want to recover quickly and get back to training sooner rather than later.
Here’s what you should be doing:
1. Whatever you do, don’t just train through it! If you rip, hit the pause button. This is to ensure that your hands won’t get infected by the bacteria that are on the equipment.
And importantly, this means that you don’t spread blood, germs, and bacteria around, which is a common courtesy we all owe each other.
2. The next step in treating hand rips is to wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Slowly pat them dry with a clean towel. Afterward, you need to check how much ripping has been done.
If there is any loose skin hanging, be sure to get rid of it. Be careful not to peel or scrub it off as it could cause you to tear further. Rather, use a pair of sanitary scissors to cut away any loose skin. If this sounds too hard to do yourself, ask someone else with a steady hand to help you out.
3. To be sure that you’re treating your hand rip well, keep it clean. This means you need to wrap the wound temporarily to keep blood and other fluids from leaking.
If needed, you can use analgesics, like Neosporin or Polysporin, to keep the area moist and shield it. These topical ointments can help minimize the pain and keep your wound protected from any unwanted elements. Once that skin starts to heal, give it an opportunity to breathe each day. This will speed up the process.
4. While treating your hand rip, it’s important to take some time off to let it fully heal. We know that might be a buzzkill. But it certainly beats going right back to your workout, tearing even more, and then having to rest longer than you would’ve in the first place!
No matter what type of training you’re doing — bodybuilding, functional fitness, powerlifting, or Olympic weightlifting — preventing and treating hand rips is important for taking care of your body and making gains.
LYFT-RX ensures that your hands and fingers stay protected with our top-quality finger tape and hand grips. And we’re not trying to brag or anything, but our tape doesn’t leave glue crumbs. Train like a pro, blast through your PRs, and keep your grip in one piece. Shop now with LYFT-RX!